The kick off party for Warped Tour 2010 took place at the Key Club in West Hollywood on April 9th, featuring Andrew W.K. and Pierce The Veil in the headlining slots. Prior to the show, Kevin Lyman conducted a press conference and then individual interviews to discuss his plans for the Warped Tour’s sweet 16. Here is an interview we conducted with the founder of Warped Tour right after the press conference…
First of all, you’re getting ready to do your 16th year of Warped Tour. Did you ever think you’d get to 16?
No. You run out of quotes after 16 years. Really, I didn’t even know if I’d get past the first year. And then after the year, I was lucky enough to get the second year when Vans came in and kind of helped me make up for some of our profits of the first year. But who thinks 16 years? And if it ends this year, it’s been a great run!
Well hopefully it doesn’t!
I hope not either. The Warped Tour is going to end someday, but right now I think it’s a strong rallying point as we’re trying to understand where the music business is going. There’s a lot of artists out there trying to figure out how they’re going to move their careers forward. So I think the Warped Tour at least is a rallying point right now for like-minded people. And they trade ideas and it’s fun for me. If anything, out of 16 years I look at all these companies and non-profits and everyone I deal with – and most of these people say” I started on the Warped Tour working for someone – if not you.”
What do you think makes Vans keep coming back to sponsor the Warped Tour?
It’s been great. Look at their bottom line. Look at their corporate profits. It’s worked. They’ve reached kids in a very effective way.
You’ve been in two Punk Rock Holocaust films. Do you think they’ll be a third chapter?
If Doug (Sakmann) could get off his ass and get one together, I’d be in it and we’d do a third one. So Doug, get off your ass and let’s make one.
Any acting career aspirations for you?
Mine? No! (Much laughter) That was pretty bad! I better stick with my day job.
What was the first album you bought that had any influence on you at all?
Simon and Garfunkel – the one with Cecilia on it. “Get down on my knees, begging you please.” I think I sang it in first grade in a talent show.
Being a promoter, how did you deal with squabbles such as the Christians vs. the Punkers?
You guys write about that. I just say grow up! We’re all musicians. You know what, everyone out there just put it aside. And it got blown up because people let it get blown up. It really wasn’t that big of deal. It really was very small. Underoath did not leave the tour because of a Christian situation with (Fat) Mike. They left because they were having problems internally with their band and needed to get off the road to still be a band. Because if they had not left the tour at that point, they wouldn’t have been a band anymore. And if it’s a squabble, I just put them on my bus for a few minutes and we talk…
Kids look forward to Warped Tour every year. How do you feel about putting on a festival that’s so anticipated each and every year?
It’s better than one that no one cares about, right? I’d hate to put on festival that no one cares about. People have tried that a lot. There’s a lot of festivals out there that go up and no one cares about them. The Warped Tour wouldn’t be around if they didn’t look forward to it. And I’m real happy with the Mayhem Festival. It seems like kids are starting to look forward to that project. I think we give them value. And I think it’s an escape for a lot of kids for a day. They’re around like-minded people just having a great time. And if we could do that for some kids in some of these cities we go to where they don’t have the distractions or the entertainment that maybe they do in California – it’s a big deal for them! It’s like the county fair coming to town for one day.
Do you every get star struck when you see some of these old time punk rock bands playing the Warped Tour?
I worked in the clubs with them (back in the day). Do I get star struck? No. But I also realize how fucking old I’m getting…
Do you have any words of wisdom for bands attempting the Warped Tour for the very first time?
Attempting – if they are not on it, maybe they’ll follow along with it. If you’re on it, then drink lots of water. If you want to be on the Warped Tour, become the biggest band in your neighborhood or town before you ask me to be on it. I get asked by so many bands who can’t draw even ten people. Build your career, build your life, and aspire to be on the Warped Tour. Don’t expect it! That’s what happened for a while – kids just expected to be on the Warped Tour. Now it’s a little harder to be out on it.
How does your home life get affected with you being on the road so much?
I’m doing good right now. Things are much better right now. I’m trying to balance this out. I didn’t go to South By Southwest. I didn’t go to Canadian Music Week this year. I stayed home and I went on spring break with my kids. I’m a pretty cool day right now. We’ll see in about three months when I’m out on the road where it stands…
Do any of your kids want to be in bands?
I told them, learn the business before you’re in a band – then you might be able to make a living in this business. Then be in a band with all your friends for a lot of fun. But they are musicians – they play drums and guitar – but they’re also swimmers and artists and volleyball players. I hope they get to choose to do what they do.
How old are they?
10 and 14. And my 14 year old will be here any minute with all of her friends…
Be sure to check out Warped Tour for a lot of fun! You can bet Highwire Daze will be there this year! Many thanks to Kevin Lyman for the interview and to MSO for setting this one up…
Official Warped Tour 2010 homepage